Almost everyone who is active on a computer does so with the help of a mouse. And unless you only work on a Mac, you will use the right mouse button regularly. And although we almost all use that button, there are still many functions that not everyone knows about. Time to highlight the power of the right mouse button!
Tip 01: Alternative start menu
The Start menu is the place in Windows where you go when you want to start programs, open the Control Panel, view the Settings menu, and so on. The menu is practical, but also very extensive. It is therefore good to know that the right mouse button can conjure up a similar menu, but much more compact and provided with shortcuts to the most important places in Windows. All you have to do is right click on the Start menu and the alternative menu will open. Once you have used it once, you will see that you will call this menu more often than you might think.
Tip 02: Adjust tiles
When you open the regular Start menu (so with the left mouse button) you will see the tiles with which you open programs. Windows has arranged the tiles for you and has given the dimensions that it deems appropriate. But that of course does not mean that you have to accept that classification. It is precisely thanks to the right mouse button that you have considerable control over the appearance of this menu. When you right click on a tile, you see the option, among other things Change size. When you click on this, you can adjust the size as desired. You also see the option More, this gives you much more control over what a tile does and can do.
Tip 03: On the taskbar
There are programs that we open only occasionally in Windows, but there are also programs that we start almost every time we work in Windows. Think of your browser, Microsoft Word and so on. When you have started a program, it will appear in the taskbar and you can easily activate it wherever you are in Windows. If you close the program, the program disappears from the taskbar and that is exactly what you actually do not want when you use the program often. After all, if you want to start it again, you will have to open the start menu again. Wouldn’t it be handy if the app just stayed on the taskbar? You just have to right-click on the icon of the desired program on the taskbar and then choose Attach to taskbar. Once you have done this, the program will not disappear. If you regret that decision, repeat this action and opt for it Detach from taskbar.
You can open recent files before you start the program
Tip 04: Recent files
We will stay in the Start menu for a little while, because there is another very useful function that you can activate using your right mouse button. Suppose you use Microsoft Word regularly and you have recently worked on a document that you want to continue working on. What you are probably doing is starting Word (so it can be done faster with the help of tip 3) and then searching the file between your recent files. But that can be done much faster. When you right-click on the icon of the program you want to start in the Start menu (or on the taskbar), you will immediately see a list of files that you have recently opened in that program. That way you can start the program, while immediately opening the correct file. It will not be more efficient than this. Incidentally, this also works for your browser, even if it concerns pages that you have recently visited.
Tip 05: Organize windows
In an ideal world we of course only use one program at a time. In reality that is something else. For example, you often have a browser open to find something on the internet, your e-mail program for reading and writing e-mails, and other programs you are working with. You can of course open all these programs one by one, but it can also be very practical to distribute all programs as a mosaic on the desktop, so that they do not overlap and you can see the content of all these programs at the same time. Now you can of course drag them all by hand and scale larger and smaller, but first of all that is a hell of a job and secondly it is not necessary at all. The right mouse button makes it possible: all you have to do is right click on the taskbar and then choose Show windows side by side. Windows will then scale and move all windows so that they are all neatly distributed across your desktop. When you close a window, simply repeat this step so that the windows are redistributed.
Tip 06: Toolbars yes / no
Another useful function of the right mouse button is to determine the elements that are shown on the taskbar at the bottom. At first glance, that bar appears to be a whole, but in reality it is a bar that is filled with all kinds of toolbars. When you right click on the taskbar and then click Toolbars, then you see the items that (can) be shown in Windows and for which you can indicate whether you want to see them or not. In this way you can easily make the taskbar a bit quieter and adjust it to the things that you actually use. By right clicking on the taskbar and choosing for Taskbar Settings you can also indicate that you want the taskbar to disappear automatically from the screen when you are not using it (whether it is useful or annoying, it depends on your preferences). In this Taskbar Settings you can move the taskbar much further to your hand. Consider the location of the taskbar: it may just as well be displayed on the side or top of the screen, but you can also indicate, for example, that you do not want the windows from one program (for example, Word documents) to be combined in one one taskbar icon.
Tip 07: Screen settings
The following tips are about the things you can do with the right mouse button in Windows Explorer, but before we list those options, we want to give you one more useful tip about what you can do with the right mouse button in the Windows interface. In addition to right-clicking on the start menu and the taskbar, you can also right-click on (an empty space on) the Windows desktop. When you do this, you can perform actions such as sorting (and determining the display) of the icons on your desktop, but it also provides you with a shortcut to adjusting the display settings. When you right click on an empty space on the desktop and choose Display Settings, then you get useful options, such as switching the night mode on and off, adjusting the resolution, adjusting the size of text (under the icons), but also for setting a second screen, for example. Of course you can also find these options via the Control Panel, but in this way all options are directly under the button and that is just that little bit faster.
Tip 08: Rotate images
The right-click menu is also called the context menu and the reason is that the menu adapts to the context in which it is activated. You have already noticed this in the previous steps (each right-click led to a different menu) and in Windows Explorer this goes one step further, because the content of the menu is determined by the software you have installed. For that reason you will see options in our screenshots that you may not have on your computer and that is okay. The options that we cover for Explorer are the options that everyone has because they are part of the basic configuration of Windows.
We skip the absolute basis (copying and pasting), but there are also many other interesting options. For example, did you know that you can rotate an image without opening it? All you have to do for this is to right-click on the image of your choice and in the right-click menu choose Turn clockwise or Turn to the left. When you view the files in icon mode, you see the effect of your action directly in the thumbnail. Extra handy: this also works if you select multiple images at the same time.
Tip 09: File versions
Errors that you make in Windows in files are usually reversible. But first you have to tell Windows that you want to use that option. You can do this by clicking on the Start menu and Settings to choose. Choose now Update and security and then for Backup. Then indicate that you want to back up your files automatically. If something goes wrong with a file in the future (for example, you save a Word document and you find out two days later that the older version was better), simply navigate to this file in Windows Explorer and click on it with the right mouse button. Then choose Restore previous versions and choose the version that corresponds to the date that you want to restore. And voilà, your old file has been restored.
Tip 10: Share files
Whether it concerns files you are working on, or photos or videos that you would like to show to someone; there will be times when you want to share files with others. You can then start your mail program, prepare a mail, add the file as an attachment and then send it, but it can also be a lot more efficient. When you navigate to the file in Windows Explorer and you right click on it, you will see an option called Copy to. When you click on this, you will see a list of options to which you can copy the file. If you use services such as Dropbox or OneDrive, you will also see these options here, which is of course useful for sharing. But you’ll also have the option here Email recipient between seeing. If you click on this, your standard mail program will open, with this file being added directly as an attachment. That saves you a few clicks. If the option of your choice is not in the list, click Parts in the right-click menu instead of Copy to. In this list you will find some other options.
Tip 11: Compress
It is often thought that you need to install an external program such as WinZip, WinRAR or 7Zip to be able to compress and decompress files. But this technology is just part of Windows, although it is particularly well hidden. It would have been more convenient if the compress option would also be directly in the right-click menu, but this function is unfortunately a step further away. Select the files that you want to compress and right click on your selection. Now choose the option again Copy to (however illogical that may seem) and click Compressed (zipped) folder. Windows will combine the files into a compressed zip file without further questions.
Tip 12: Shortcuts
Shortcuts are useful ways to give yourself quick access to files and folders in Windows that you often use. For example, you can add a shortcut to the left pane in Windows Explorer, or to the desktop or taskbar, so you can quickly open what you want. Such a shortcut is also made very quickly with the right mouse button. Right-click on the file or folder that you want to access quickly and choose Create shortcut. The shortcut that is created gets the name of the original, plus the word shortcut. If you don’t like that, you can remedy that by right-clicking on the shortcut and choosing Renaming. When you are satisfied with your shortcut, you can easily drag it to the taskbar so that from now on you only need one mouse click to open the file or folder of your choice.
13 Otherwise click
Finally, a few handy click options. To call up the right-click menu on a laptop with a touchpad, you can touch the surface with two fingers. If you use a separate (modern) mouse, there are even more options. For example, you can close a tab by clicking on it with the scroll wheel (ie not scrolling but actually pressing). There are also mice that have many more buttons to which you can assign functions, such as back pages in your history, undo an action or scroll super fast to the end of a page.